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Take the Digital Leap - Sell More, Sell Better

Take the Digital Leap - Sell More, Sell Better

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Take the Digital Leap - Sell More, Sell Better

Abstract

How can insurance companies achieve the twin goals of expertly managing more stringent regulatory challenges and satisfying the ever-growing needs of informed, always-on customers? How can they make sure that their salesforce comes to the party quicker and has more fun than their competitors? Empowering their sales intermediaries with digitalized methodologies and tools is the answer. Insurers need to do this effectively and efficiently to realize the best return on investment. Going digital is a low-risk, high-impact strategy to empower and motivate your salesforce through a never-before selling experience, and delight customers by offering them a superior buying experience.

Uncertain Times: Roadblocks for the Insurance Industry

Traditionally, the insurance industry, a vertical within the Banking, Financial Institutions and Insurance (BFSI) sector, has been a sunrise sector, its growth primarily driven by the insurance salesforce since customers were not seeking out insurance products as much as they did banking and investment products. Over the last few decades, however, sweeping changes in the economic, technology, and communication sectors and the rapid rise of the Internet and social media have sent fissures of change throughout the insurance landscape.

The digital revolution has resulted in an explosion of easily accessible information to create well-informed, digitally enabled customers who now demand prompt and high quality insurance services. This and other change drivers are forcing insurance companies to rethink their game and explore new avenues of growth.

This white paper explores the challenges insurance companies face in sales and business growth, along with the changing dynamics of customer behavior, and the need for and benefits of digital sales enablement

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Changing Insurance Landscape

Insurance companies operating in key global markets face two major challenges:

  • Managing the rising compliance burden
  • Meeting the differentiated needs of customers who are tech-savvy, financially literate, and highly mobile, and possess a growing interest in insurance products

These challenges have a significant bearing on the sales and distribution strategies of insurance companies. Most insurance customers operate in an always-on environment. Hence, the communication around insurance offerings has to be up-to-date and consistent across all the channels. With increasing digitization of information, transactions, and customer services, insurance companies need to know their customers even better, including (but not limited to) their online usage patterns. Though the need for strengthening the direct channel has increased over time, statistics show that the intermediaries continue to be the predominant channel for interaction with customers.

Take the Digital Leap - Sell More, Sell Better

Insurance: Sales Channel Breakdown(Source:Accenture)

Rapid Shifts in Customer Preferences

Take the Digital Leap - Sell More, Sell Better

Experts feel that insurance companies have not been able to manage their sales and distribution channels well to keep pace with the evolving customer dynamics. For this to happen, insurance companies need to understand and connect with their customers better, and change the way they deliver products and services. To become truly customer-centric, product silos within the organization need to be broken down, with sales and servicing spanning all business lines.

The Big Divide: A Siloed Approach to Sales

Insurance companies consistently cite intermediary and agent channel strength or resistance as one of the top three inhibitors in implementing their digital strategy. However, distributors (intermediaries/agents) face the same challenge as insurers and believe that digital’s primary use will be to improve the efficiency and quality of interactions with their customers over the next three years. As such, insurance organizations looking for a digital makeover should also treat distributors as digital customers—the more comfortable they are using digital tools, the faster they will adopt digital as a distribution channel.

At present, within organizations, the approach to the market is disjointed—sales/account executives are aligned with specific products or business units, and do not have an integrated view of the needs of their customers or their salesforce. This siloed approach results in a number of challenges:

  • Lack of an information platform or dashboard that can provide visibility into upcoming renewals or potential client needs basis changes in risk exposure
  • Poor customer-centricity due to limited insights into customer needs arising from lack of information sharing across/between channels
  • Poor information sharing across business units due to restrictive tools and processes, and zero incentives for cross-unit communication
  • Difficulty in segmentation, as insurance databases typically contain limited, outdated customer data
  • Inconsistencies between the data received through physical and digital channels

These challenges, common to both insurers and their sales intermediaries, affect sales and customer service. The key to rising above these barriers to growth is collaboration

Empowering Your Salesforce: The Magic of Time

The proven way to boost sales is to enable and empower your salesforce. Sales and intermediary enablement is a strategic, ongoing process. It equips client-facing employees to consistently and systematically have a value conversation with the

right set of customers and stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s value proposition lifecycle. It optimizes the return of investment from the selling system.

To move a specific sales opportunity forward, the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time in the right place is the key. Experts and industry analysts agree that the most effective way to improve sales performance is to free up the time salespeople spend on non-selling activities like training, updating information in CRM systems, talking to customer etc., so they have more time to meet and speak with customers. One way to do this is to speed up access to rich marketing content and resources, and put in place processes that shorten the sales cycle

Digital Transformation of Sales Processes and Systems: Key Trends

Adopting digital tools and methodologies can greatly motivate and empower your insurance salesforce, speed up the sales process and create customer delight. Moving marketing collateral to a device of choice and creating the anytime-anywhere meeting place with mobile apps are some of the ways of deploying the new technologies for enhanced sales. Here are some key trends:

Gamification of Sales, Incentivizing Wins

Gamification inspires and motivates sales organizations to break new ground, imbibing improvements in the methods and approaches of today. Sales and intermediary teams are inherently competitive. They need to be rewarded for excellence. With proper incentives, sales/intermediary teams will strive for excellence in the game. Tangible rewards like cash prizes, trips, awards etc. work well. Incorporating a simple gaming element into the sales and distribution program can result in superior performance from the salesforce. Various gaming elements can include:

  • Leaderboards
  • Point systems
  • Challenges
  • Challenges
  • Levels and badges

Competitiveness is nurtured, for example, by displaying the top performers on a leaderboard with an updated activity stream such as:

  • Placing organizational goals within the context of a sales game that employees, partners and customers can ‘play’
  • Motivating behaviors instead of enforcing behaviors
  • Providing instant gratification for accomplishments
  • Simultaneously encouraging competition and progress toward shared goals

Collaboration

The need to empower the existing sales system with digital tools in face-to-face client meetings is here, and it is here to stay. Using visual configuration and consumer grade graphics to create a more intuitive, collaborative, and visually appealing financial planning experience can make buying decisions easier.

Effective and efficient sales enablement is collaborative. It not only brings the sales department's representatives, managers, and leadership to the same table, but includes voices and inputs from the entire organization. Sales enablement can also work hand-in-hand with strategies and tools including marketing automation, content development, product development, and customer service.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Smartphones and tablets have become favorite tools for busy salespeople and intermediaries. Business is no longer confined to the office. Hallways, coffee shops, and planes have all been turned into meeting spaces, with mobile devices being used to present to prospects as well as access sales content and training resources.

However, it is a challenge for organizations to reach sales people on the range of devices they use. It is best to adopt a BYOD policy that allows employees to use any device they choose or have access to. The benefits are worth the investment:

  • Quick access to content and resources, such as videos, marketing collaterals, and playbooks, which enhance sales productivity, reducing a salesperson’s time and effort and improving the quality of customer interactions
  • Content and resources segmented by product line within the app reduce guesswork, allowing sales teams to easily pull up resources they are looking for
  • Automatic rating and feedback for the content and resources from the app create a continuous loop of content improvement between sales and marketing
  • Push notifications alert sales people to new content available and/or changes in existing content
  • Easy access to training and onboarding material saves the time of sales team spent on physically attending conferences and seminars and sifting through multiple systems for guidance, allowing sales people to complete their training on-the-go
NIIT

The NIIT Technologies Thought Board:

Take the Digital Leap - Sell More, Sell Better

Embrace a Digital Future

In a competitive market, how you sell is just as important as what you sell. From planning to face-to-face meetings to post-call follow-ups, a mobile sales enablement solution can be designed to streamline and support every step of your sales process. Customizing to your specific go-to-market process will allow you to maximize your ROI—and more fully realize the benefits of sales enablement.

Transforming your sales engine, however, is a complex task—one best done in partnership with an experienced IT solutions provider having a firm understanding of digital sales enablement.

NIIT Technologies offers you expert knowledge, thousands of person-hours of experience and a proven track record of efficiently and effectively digitalizing sales forces. We have established ourselves as a preferred digitalization partner through:

  • Identifying and foreseeing customer behavior, regulatory changes, technological advancements and process limitations
  • Analyzing the challenges and needs of insurance sales forces and intermediaries, as well as those of their customers
  • Designing and delivering systems, tools, and apps that provide the support and facilitate sales force and customers
  • Designing and delivering systems, tools, and apps that provide the support and facilitate sales force and customers
  • Reducing the length of sales/buying cycles—thereby increasing the number of selling/buying engagements in any given timeframe, and providing a superior return on investment

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